Regular readers of Waverley Web will be aware that we strive to report doings in “Your Waverley” accurately but, occasionally, we get it wrong.
And when we get it wrong we are happy – eager even – to stand corrected. More than can be said for Waverley Council, which never apologises or admits blame for anything to anyone.
Therefore, our thanks to Ms Beverley Weddell, Clerk to Alfold & Hascombe Parish Councils, who was out of the starting blocks with commendable Usain Bolt like gusto shortly after we posted yesterday’s article, ‘Now listen carefully …’
Ms Weddell pointed out to us that, in fact,
‘Neither Alfold Parish Council or Hascombe Parish Council objected to the minor amendment to planning application WA/2015/0695 for a change of use to D1 to allow for the expansion of Jigsaw School.’
And, for good measure, Ms Weddell went on to say,
‘For the avoidance of doubt, I have attached copies of both parish councils’ letters in response to application WA/2016/0634, which clearly state the parish councils had no objection to the change of use to facilitate the Jigsaw School.
‘Application WA/2016/0634 was for two separate amendments to the original planning permission and both parish councils did object to an increase of 28,466sqm in B1, B2 and/or B8 Industrial floor space. Both letters give clear reasons for objecting to the increase in industrial space, as did the parish councils’ responses to the original application. This part of the application was not related to Jigsaw School.
‘Both Alfold Parish Council and Hascombe Parish Council have always been supportive of Jigsaw School and have never objected to any planning application relating to the school, therefore I strongly request that you delete the post or correct it immediately.’
In light of Mrs Weddell’s explanation, Waverley Web is happy to correct its post of yesterday and accept that the Parish Councils did not object to Jigsaw School’s application. After some enquiries to an Alfold villager it would appear that the parish council when considering the amendments were all aware that the Jigsaw School required more space in the mezzanine floor, but objected to any increase in the space, however they had not appreciated that the application under discussion was for two separate amendments to the original planning application and when they heard Councillors Deanus and Grey objecting to any increase at the Waverley committee it appeared they were objecting to any overall increase in floor space including that for the Jigsaw School’s application rather than that of the other party, AFC.
But – and forgive us for scratching our heads here – doesn’t this beg another, even bigger, question?
Why would Alfold and Hascombe Parish Councils object to the expansion of an industrial fuel cell company at Dunsfold Park, an acknowledged business park? Now, Waverley Web doesn’t pretend to know much about AFC’s business beyond what we have read on their website, which is, basically, and we paraphrase here, that they manufacture large-scale industrial fuel cells for a hydrogen economy that is starting to gain momentum internationally.
Why would Alfold and Hascombe Parish Councils want to object to the expansion of a ‘green energy’ company on the largest brownfield site in their Borough? Do they not want to see individual companies succeed and thrive at Dunsfold Park? Do they not want to support the growth of such companies and the jobs they will create locally, not to mention the inward investment it brings to Surrey and the UK as a whole?
Is it that they think that a company based in a little backwater like Alfold and Dunsfold doesn’t deserve to succeed and grow simply because it chose to locate itself on the outskirts of their villages rather than a major town? Do the Parish Councillors think that the people who live in this area don’t deserve to have good jobs, in emerging new businesses, on their doorstep rather than commuting to far flung towns, like Crawley, Croydon, Gatwick, Haywards Heath, London and beyond to do a challenging and stimulating job and earn a good salary?
Why is it OK for their residents to commute along the A281 and B230 to Horsham and Guilford to work but it’s not OK for the residents of Guildford and Horsham to travel along the A281 and B230, through their villages, to to work at Dunsfold Park? What’s so special about the villages of Alfold and Hascombe that they should be exempt from the through traffic that they themselves inflict on others?
And what would happen if the residents of Marwick Lane – who object so strongly to HGV traffic on their narrow lane – were told that Ocado and Amazon’s trucks were no longer permitted to deliver to their properties because, as they claim, the lane is unsuitable for those very delivery lorries? No doubt there would be widespread outrage amongst the Surry Housewives if Net-a-Porter couldn’t drop off the latest must-have designer bauble or Jack Wills was told Surrey Junior couldn’t order his hoodies and sweatshirts on-line for home delivery.
When, oh when, are the narrow minded individuals who make up the parochial parish councils of Alfold and Hascombe going to accept that young people in this area deserve to have the 1,200 odd jobs that were available at the former aerodrome, during BAE’s ownership, replaced? That they shouldn’t have to commute long distances – generating the very congestion that the Parish Council’s are complaining about – to good jobs?
Why can’t they, instead, praise and support the businesses that want to locate at Dunsfold Park, recognising that they will bring prosperity to the area, ensuring that local pubs and other businesses – some of whom were on their knees after BAE left – will benefit and thrive too if Dunsfold Park does?
So, to cut a long rant short, Ms Weddell, Waverley Web is happy to apologise for its confusion and our subsequent misreporting of Alfold and Hascombe Parish Councils’ written stance. But OH dear oh, dear, oh dear, when are those Parish Councillors going to wake up and smell the coffee and realise what a bunch of hypocrites they really are, because more traffic movements will undoubtedly result from the expansion of the Jigsaw School?
So support facilities for Autism but not for business and jobs?